Months after Telangana’s Kakatiya Rudreshwara Temple, popularly known as Ramappa temple, made it to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) list of World Heritage Sites, the Telangana government is looking to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) for the development of the thirteenth-century temple and premises into a spiritual tourism hub.
Following the global recognition, the temple, located at Palampet in Mulugu district, has been selected for development under the Union tourism ministry’s ‘Prasad’ (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive) scheme. After the state government submitted its project concept for the proposed development, a team led by the director-general of the tourism ministry G Kamala Vardhana Rao visited the temple on Monday to understand the proposal and shared their inputs.
A senior official of the Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation (TSTDC) told indianexpress.com that the state government has to follow the instructions and inputs provided by the Union ministry to be able to seek funds for the project. “The team verified the land available, various components, and other activities being taken up here. They have proposed the need for an interpretation centre, laser light and sound show, development of gardens and lake bund, apart from boating services, to be included in the DPR. We will send the DPR in a week,” he said.
TSTDC chairman Uppala Srinivas Gupta said that the state government has been striving for Rs 250 crore from the Union ministry for the development of the temple since the UNESCO recognition last July.
“We have big plans for the development of the state’s tourism sector. The chief minister has already sanctioned over Rs 2,000 crore. Ramappa temple will be a crucial part of our proposed Kaleshwaram tourism circuit that links reservoirs such Mallanna Sagar, Kondapochamma Sagar, Ranganayakamma Sagar, Mid Manair and Lower Manair reservoirs, Narasimhaswamy Sagar in Yadadri, etc as tourism hubs. Bhoodan Pochampally village, which recently won UNWTO’s ‘Best World Tourism Village’ tag, and Yadadri temple will be part of the circuit. At Ramappa, the state government is developing four-lane link roads and going for expansion of ‘Haritha’ resort facilities,” Gupta told indianexpress.com.
The tourism development corporation has already earmarked 10-acre land for the interpretation centre. The proposal includes an amphitheatre, parking lots, public amenities and a shopping area. A promenade with benches amid landscaped gardens and a 3D projection mapping show are being planned to welcome tourists to the temple. As per the central team’s instructions, floating jetties and boats are to be developed in the adjoining Ramappa lake.
According to Prof Panduranga Rao of the Kakatiya Heritage Trust, certain conditions prescribed by UNESCO at the time of inscribing the Ramappa temple into the list of world heritage sites need to be adhered to before the end of 2022. “The Archeological Survey of India has to first fully restore the Kameshwara temple, Shivalayam, and Gollallagudi in and around the main temple as prescribed by UNESCO. In addition to these, an interpretation centre and beautiful accommodation facility and hospitality will enhance the image of the world heritage monument,” he said.
Ramappa temple is the first and only monument in the two Telugu states to be inscribed in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. Known for its intrinsic designs, architecture, and engineering innovation, the Ramappa temple was built in 1213 by the Kakatiya ruler Kakati Ganapati Deva but is better known after its chief sculptor Ramappa.
With sandbox technology and floating bricks, it fulfilled the criteria such as an outstanding universal value, the creative genius of the sculptors and also their contemporary contribution. “We have to protect, preserve, conserve and adhere to the guidelines of UNESCO’s prescription. All including the ASI, the state archaeology, state tourism department and the union tourism ministry need to work together to raise the stature of the Ramappa temple and create an ambience befitting the world heritage monument,” Rao said, assuring support from the Kakatiya Heritage Trust.
The trust’s decade-long efforts documenting the history of the temple and preparation of a dossier were instrumental in the temple securing the UNESCO tag.